Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s (RLSS) National Drowning Report 2023 found men made up 77 per cent of drowning deaths, and adults over 45 made up 57 per cent.

The National Drowning Report 2023 provides an analysis of fatal drowning across Australia between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023.

Drownings declined overall with 281 deaths, down 17 per cent on the previous year when there were 339 deaths.

Drowning fatalities in young children continue to decrease.

The number of drowning fatalities in young children (0-4 years) was 33 per cent below the 10-year average, highlighting the ongoing success of legislative changes to pool fencing regulations and water safety messages directed at the carers of young children.

Drowning in the 5-14 year age group represented 2% of drowning cases this financial year (2022/23); a 53% decrease from last year (2021/22), and a 35% decrease when compared to the 10-year average.

Drowning deaths in the 15-24 year age group represented 11% of all drowning cases this financial year (2022/23); a 17% decrease from last year (2021/22) and a 7% decrease over a 10 year average.

RLSS chief executive Justin Scarr said the figures were encouraging but urged people against being complacent.

“With summer approaching, pool owners should check that their pool fence is in good working order. Remember to constantly keep watch when young children are around water, and avoid distractions like mobile phones,” Mr Scarr said.

Warning for older men

Mr Scarr encouraged people, especially older men, to take safety precautions when in and around water.

“We urge men to make the right call, and avoid alcohol and drugs around water, check the conditions and avoid over-estimation of swimming ability.

“Older adults should understand the potential impacts of other medical conditions and medications on water activities including swimming and boating.”


  • Always supervise children in, on and around water
  • Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling
  • Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs around water
  • Know your limits, the conditions, check the weather